BIM – Every Journey Begins with a First Step 1

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Friday, February 19th, 2016
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Where do I begin with BIM? Not surprisingly, this is the first question most clients ask me. And again, no prizes for my answer which is “at the start.”

Some might suggest that you start with the end in mind, but that would imply you know exactly where you’re going. This just is not true when changing the way, you either deliver a digital asset or use digital information to manage your assets.

stairStarting with BIM does not have to mean that you have to break the bank by purchasing a whole heap of software and employing a bunch of experts. It can be as simple as just knowing what change is expected and how you or your firm might manage to make these changes over a sensible period of time.

Having worked in the industry for over 20 years now, I feel I can speak from a place of experience. I have been responsible for, and driven, BIM change for employers and clients alike in small business, large projects and global enterprises. The common starting point has always been in educating the decision makers and then planning a way forward for their firm with the requisite budget and time to achieve the particular objective – being BIM-capable.

I truly believe that we are in the throes of the digital revolution. Our economies are changing, our livelihoods are changing, what we pay and charge for is changing and all exponentially faster (Moore’s Law). BIM is part of this change and a reflection of a larger change in the professional services industry around information management and its use. As such, BIM is not avoidable but inevitable.

Global and regional standards are already pointing in the same direction, which is a good thing, and they will continue to evolve to become what the final standards will be. So, knowing that there will be governance and requirements should make implementing BIM into your business easier, right? Of course it will; it at least helps you define where you’re aiming.

It has been my experience, however, that regardless of the best intentions, things that are not understood are destined to fail. This is unfortunately what happens with BIM – it is not truly understood at the decision making level and it is destined to languish as perpetually unfinished by the most well-intentioned as it has not been provisioned for correctly.

Let’s compare it to an accounting system. Would you buy one, install it and let the fates decide if it was going to be used correctly within the firm? Not a chance! So why consign new innovations and technologies such as BIM to this fate?

Where do you start with BIM? Putting it very simply we start with the Three Ds. Decide what you are going to do, Develop your strategy, programme and budget, then Deploy with regular and consistent oversight. This is how you change – by sticking with it and seeing the return on investment come to fruition.

Like anything worthwhile, this does not happen until you start, and as the old adage says ‘every journey starts with the first step.’ What’s yours?

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  1. Grant Spork

    BIM to date has not lived up to the hype, and the construction industry should come clean and admit that the hype did not live up to reality. BIM is appropriate for basic quantities, repetitive houses, though requires all consultants and participants to be of value in complex projects. Savings are grossly exagerated and generally we should admit it is a big FAIL!